Member Success Stories

Chris Wilson honoured at the National Philanthropy Awards.

Chief Mel Grandjamb and the Fort McKay First Nation are proud to congratulate Chris Wilson on the recognition he received at the awards ceremony in honour of National Philanthropy Day. The ceremony, which took place in Edmonton on the 15th of November saw nominees in the fields of the Arts and Culture, Education, Community Enrichment, The Environment, Social Services, Youth, and Health.

Chris was nominated by Fort McMurray’s Northern Lights Health Foundation in the health category, which recognizes people and groups who give their time, talent, and resources to better the health and well-being of their community. Chris and Birch Mountain Enterprises have raised over $500 000 in the last five years towards the foundation’s work, and this generosity has made a meaningful difference to the hospital and the services it is able to provide.

“Saving patients from pain and helping with healing are so important to the quality of life we all want for ourselves and our families,’ said Chris. He speaks from experience. As a youth, Chris suffered a gunshot wound to the chest while on a hunting trip. He believes that it was the care and treatment he received at the Northern Lights Health Foundation that saved his life.

As a result, as soon as Chris was in a position to do something for his community, it was a small wonder he focused on the Health Foundation. “I’m a proud donor and will continue to keep healthcare close to home with my donations.”

Chris sees what he does as an investment in the health of his family, friends, employees, and community and he feels the need to set an example for others. “We must continue to use our funds and donations to invest in advancing local healthcare services and help each other.”

Chris is a proud band member of the Fort McKay First Nation, and the Nation is proud of Chris and all he does for the community.

Blair Bellerose Releases New Video

Chief Mel Grandjamb and the Fort McKay First Nation would like to congratulate member Blair Bellerose on launching his first-ever video with Butterfly Wings, the latest single from his band Midnight Sparrows.

Blair wrote the song to honour his mother Freda Bellerose, an Indigenous Elder and residential school survivor who passed away last year at the age of 87. The song celebrates all she taught Blair about how to live a good life, while also contemplating the process of letting go so that our loved ones can peacefully transition to the spirit world while we move forward with life here on earth. Writing Butterfly Wings allowed Blair to hold on to the lessons his mother taught him about living life to its fullest as he processed letting go of the one he held so dear.

“Spread your butterfly wings,” sings Blair. “I want to see you be divine. You are divine.”

Blair would like to thank Fort McKay First Nation for a generous funding contribution that allowed him to make this first-ever music video. He notes that while he identified as Métis for most of his earlier life, he is now also a proud member of Fort McKay First Nation thanks to a successful, women-led challenge to the Indian Act which allows for greater gender equity in passing on Indian status through the maternal family line.

Butterfly Wings is featured on Born in the City, the second album from Blair’s band Midnight Sparrows. Blair, who identifies as a Métis, Cree, and Dene singer-songwriter-guitarist, describes Midnight Sparrows as playing guitar-driven hard rock that combines elements of classic rock, power pop, and old-school heavy metal.

Midnight Sparrows’ debut album, Rock & Roll City, was nominated for a Native American Music Award and has been receiving radio play across North America and beyond. Born in the City is being launched hot on the heels of that success. It is a six-song rocker that will make you believe that the magic of rock and roll still exists and its power is as strong as ever. It was produced and written by Blair, and engineered and mixed by Juno and Western Canadian Music Award winner Sheldon Zaharko.

Watch Blair’s new video for Butterfly Wings here!